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US Army treating 2 soldiers for lung injuries

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Vaping products, one of the fastest-growing segments of the legal cannabis industry, have taken a hit as public health experts scramble to determine what’s causing a mysterious and sometimes fatal lung disease among people who use e-cigarettes. (Sept. 26)
AP, AP

The U.S. Army is treating two active-duty soldiers in its medical facilities for vaping-related lung illnesses, an Army official said.

The Army identified the two injured soldiers as it monitors all treatment facilities for vaping-related lung illnesses, said Chanel Weaver, a public affairs chief at the Army Public Health Center.

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The officials said they have not determined the substances used by the patients, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the two vaping injuries.

The report comes only days after an Oct. 1 ban went into effect for the sale of e-cigarettes and all stores on exchanges on Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard bases. A decision by the Marine Corps is pending legal guidance from the Secretary of the Navy and the Pentagon, an official said.

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The U.S. Army Public Health Center warned soldierslast month to avoid e-cigarettes and vaping products, saying their use could affect fighting strength, readiness and resilience.

The message, directed at soldiers as well as their families, especially warned against using vaping products sold off the street or modified. It said the effects of vaping could undermine the military’s mission.

“In efforts to conserve the fighting strength, and strengthen Army readiness and resilience, vaping of e-cigarettes should be highly discouraged at this time,” said Dr. Marc A. Williams, a toxicologist and an e-cigarette and vaping expert in APHC’s Toxicology Directorate.

Williams said Army researchers have found that vaping might be associated with anxiety, increased blood pressure and seizures.

“It should be considered a myth that vaping is less harmful than conventional cigarette smoking,” he said.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week reported 1,080 cases of vaping-related lung illness and 18 deaths in a survey of 48 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Symptoms appear over the course of a few days to several weeks and include cough, shortness of breath or chest pain, in addition to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever or weight loss.

Williams said the “lack of quality control” in the manufacture of the devices and products “should make us all deeply skeptical or at least questioning of the general safety of these devices.”

A recent study by the Mayo Clinic said lung illnesses may be caused by “toxic chemical fumes.”

The findings, published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, were based on the biopsies of 17 people with confirmed or possible cases of vaping-related lung injuries, including two patients who died.

All of the subjects had a history of vaping; 71% of them used marijuana or cannabis oils.

USA Today reporter Ken Alltucker contributed to this report.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/10/09/army-treating-two-soldiers-vaping-related-lung-injuries/3917438002/



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